Friday 16 June 2023

The Master’s Seminary Journal 34, 1 (2023)

The latest Master’s Seminary Journal has been posted online. This issue is a festschrift entitled ‘The Word of God and the Pastor-Theologian’, dedicated to John F. MacArthur.

A pdf of the journal can be downloaded here.

Nathan Busenitz and Iosif J. Zhakevich

Editorial: The Word of God and the Pastor-Theologian

Steven J. Lawson

The Pastor-Theologian and the Bloodstained Word of God: History of the English Bible and the Death of the Martyrs

The cost of the Word of God in English – the foundation of the pastor-theologian’s ministry – was the blood of the martyrs. Through the sacrifices of men such as John Wycliffe, William Tyndale, and John Rogers, the pastor-theologian now has access to the English Bible. With the Word of God in English, the pulpits have been fortified, the sinners regenerated, and believers sanctified. Reflection on the lives of these men who brought Scripture to the common man in his own tongue ought to make every believer appreciate the history of this bloodstained book. While the production of the English Bible came at a high price, it was well worth the sacrifice for the glory of God.

Charles Lee Feinberg

A High View of Scripture: Why We Know the Bible Is the Word of God

Feinberg demonstrates in this article that the bedrock of the pastor-theologian is Scripture. The pastor-theologian must view and teach the Bible not as man’s word, but as God’s Word. God has revealed this foundational truth within Scripture itself – in the unity of its construction, the continuity of its existence, the scope of its subject matter, and the influence of its power. In order to be true and faithful to the ministry of the Word of God, the pastor-theologian must hold to a high view of Scripture.

Austin T. Duncan

The Call to Ministry and the Plattered Head

The call to ministry must be received with all its ramifications, including the plattered head. John the Baptist is depicted in Mark 6 as a man of God who fulfilled his calling to the ultimate point of his death. With such an end in view, Mark describes Christ’s commission of His disciples and instructs the pastor-theologian in six areas of his ministry: 1) the preaching of the commissioned, 2) the authority of the commissioned, 3) the dependency of the commissioned, 4) the rejection of the commissioned, 5) the courage of the commissioned, and 6) the invincibility of the commissioned. In the end, even if the ministry of the man of God leads to his death, the work to which he is called will endure because it is the work of God.

Abner Chou

The Hermeneutics of the Pastor-Theologian

Every pastor-theologian stands in the succession of the men of God who have gone before him. The hermeneutic of the pastor-theologian is not one of his own making. Rather, it is one handed down by those who not only wrote the Scriptures but who themselves also handled the Word of God throughout all redemptive history. To truly uphold biblical hermeneutics as a pastor-theologian, one must humbly study the Scripture in its literal, grammatical, and historical context, just as the biblical writers did. Only then can the pastor-theologian ensure that every single word of the inerrant, inspired Word of God is upheld with the author’s true intent, as God intended it.

Irvin A. Busenitz

Lifting the Veil: Original Languages and the Pastor-Theologian

The task of studying the Word of God in its original languages is both a privilege and a responsibility for the pastor-theologian. God chose Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek to reveal Himself to mankind, and this fact alone should compel every pastor-theologian to pursue these languages so he could effectively pass along an accurate interpretation of the Scriptures to those he teaches. As the student of the Word labors over grammar, syntax, morphology, and vocabulary of the biblical text, abundant blessings rise to the surface for himself and for his people. While no doubt a difficult task, the rigorous study of God’s Word is the pastor-theologian’s greatest treasure, gift, reward, and obligation.

Robert L. Thomas

Exegesis and Expository Preaching

In this article, Robert L. Thomas outlines the description of a diligent and faithful pastor-theologian, demonstrating that exegesis is the foundation of exposition. Thomas explains the importance of preparing the sermon from the original languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek), the wisdom it takes to treat properly theological and interpretative challenges from the pulpit, and the value of bringing out insights from the text for the congregation. In all this, Thomas contends that exegesis is so foundational to preaching that ‘if there is a breakdown in exegesis, the whole structure, of which expository preaching is the climax, collapses’.

Robert L. Thomas

The Pastor’s Study: A Conversation with John MacArthur

In the previous article… Robert L. Thomas outlined a description of a faithful pastor-theologian. In the present dialogue, Thomas interviews Dr. John MacArthur as an example who models the qualities of a faithful pastor-theologian. Thomas asks MacArthur about the preeminence of the Sunday morning sermon, the importance of the original languages for exegesis, the necessity of diligence in the pastor’s personal study, the value of seminary education, and other such essential questions. Towards the end of the interview, MacArthur exclaims that the pastor-theologian must focus on ‘the importance of diligence in study, discipline in establishing priorities, integrity in preaching the Scriptures, accuracy in interpreting the text, and the efficient use of the precious time given us to serve the Lord’.

Alex D. Montoya

Preaching and the Pastor-Theologian

Because the Bible is the revelation of God, every expository sermon is rightly a doctrinal sermon. Thus, the faithful preacher will be a doctrinal preacher, and in effect a pastor-theologian. The pastor-theologian’s mandate, embedded in Scripture itself, will dictate his manner of preaching, such that his congregation will rightly grasp theological dictum along with practical application. This responsibility endued upon each minister of the Word is of utmost importance to the life of the church, as each member endeavors to know God and worship Him ‘in spirit and in truth’.

Jesse Johnson

The Leadership of the Pastor-Theologian: Guiding the Church to Gaze upon Christ

The pastor-theologian’s leadership exists on two planes: horizontal and vertical. As a pastor, the church leader shepherds horizontally, through what Paul calls ‘the daily cares of life’. As theologian, the leader uses his understanding of God to draw people into a deeper relationship with their Creator. Skilled pastoral leadership is seen where these two planes intersect. For the leader to effectively navigate this intersection, he must be held captive by the truth of Psalm 27:4 and Luke 10:42 – there is only one thing necessary, and that is a desire to behold the glories of God in Christ. This conviction forms a ‘theological’ vision which should be particularly evident in the pastor’s preaching. The pastor-theologian explains his theological vision, invites his congregation to join him in that vision, and then they return to the horizontal world to live out the implications of it. This kind of leadership is modeled by Paul in Philippians 1, and by Jesus in John 13–17. Finally, this approach to leadership has been modeled in the ministry of John MacArthur, specifically in how he has used John 13–17 to lead his own congregation.

Phil Johnson

Guarding the Flock and Defending the Faith

A faithful pastor-theologian’s duty is perfectly illustrated by the role of a shepherd. He is among other things a guardian, responsible to defend the faith and to protect his flock. But in recent years the shepherd model has been disregarded, defamed, and even declared obsolete by church leaders who suggest pastors should function like corporate CEOs rather than shepherds. In this article, Phil Johnson evaluates that trend in light of the key verses in Paul’s farewell message to the Ephesian elders (Acts 20:28–30). He highlights the integral connection between shepherding and the pastor-theologian’s duty to be set for the defense of the gospel and the protection of the flock against savage theological wolves and their influence.

James Coates

The Courage of the Pastor-Theologian

This article defines the essence of biblical courage for the pastor-theologian. It does so by identifying four critical features of courage found in Joshua 1:6–9 (confidence, content, catalyst, and comfort). These features define what courage is, where courage comes from, and how courage is cultivated, establishing that biblical courage is the resolve to obey God’s Word, regardless of the outcome or cost. The fourth feature of biblical courage finds a link in the Great Commission of Matthew 28:18–20 that bridges the historical and theological context of the Old Testament. From there, the features of courage identified in Joshua 1:6–9 are both reinforced and amplified in 2 Timothy 2:1–13, where the pastor is pictured as a soldier, and where the qualities of a good soldier are delineated. These qualities demand that the pastor-theologian be strong and courageous. Thus, this article is devoted to the courage of the pastor-theologian.

Ligon Duncan

The Pastor-Theologian and True Worship

The pastor-theologian is the worship leader of the church to which he is called as shepherd. This calling necessitates the proper understanding of the act of true worship. True worship is scriptural, simple, spiritual, and God-centered, focusing on the proper response to the revelation that God has given to His people. Resultingly, true worship will prioritize reading the Bible, preaching the Bible, praying the Bible, singing the Bible, and ‘seeing’ the Bible, each element being carried out to bring glory to God.

Carl A. Hargrove

The Private Life of the Pastor-Theologian: How John F. MacArthur Encourages Godliness in the Lives of Pastor-Theologians

This article highlights the importance of the private life of the pastor-theologian. Though the calling of the pastor-theologian involves heavy attention to the needs of his congregation, this ministry is founded on his own attention to his life and doctrine (1 Tim 4:16). Thus, rightly may it be said that he has an imperative in his private life to live in accordance with his message, not just for the benefit of his church, or evangelistic efforts, but ultimately for the glory of the Master. By giving proper attention to the essential components of his private life, the pastor-theologian’s ministry will have an eternal impact on the souls under his charge, bringing glory to the Triune God.

Richard Mayhue

The Importance of a Unified Doctrinal Statement for The Master’s Seminary and for Training Pastor-Teachers

This essay explores elements of integrity which explain why a unified theology is an imperative for The Master’s Seminary (TMS) and for training pastor-teachers. Biblical, educational, and ecclesiastical integrity all contribute to training pastor- teacher in accord with the primary purpose or intent of TMS. The concluding remarks prescribe both a preventative approach to avoid or correct doctrinal drift and a suggestive reading list related to this subject.

Sinclair Ferguson

John Owen: Pastor-Theologian

While John Owen is recognized as a towering, academic theologian, Owen also has much to offer as a pastor. Many of Owen’s theological contributions stemmed from a pastoral desire to shepherd the flock of God entrusted to him. In effect, his works on Christian doctrine emit his pastoral heart. At the same time, his pastoral commitments, such as preaching and shepherding the flock, bear notable theological emphases. Owen knew that both the knowledge of doctrine and the knowledge of people are essential components of the pastor-theologian, such that he accomplished his stewardship of being a pastor-theologian in a manner worthy of God.

Joel R. Beeke and Paul M. Smalley

William Perkins on the Calling of a Gospel Minister

William Perkins, known for preaching ‘one Christ, by Christ, to the praise of Christ’, held a robust perspective on the calling of a gospel minister. As evidenced by Perkins’s writings, to be called to gospel ministry is to receive the responsibility for an immense undertaking. This calling originates from God, comes through the Holy Scriptures, and is confirmed by the church and one’s desire for the ministry. It is a calling to serve as a steward of God’s Word. The minister’s life should manifest the working of the Spirit, sanctifying him unto God so that he may preach the truth experientially. In so doing, he will inevitably encounter opposition along his way, as he treads out the path which Christ Himself trod. Yet he perseveres in his calling, knowing that faithful is the One who has called him and will be with him to the end.

William D. Barrick

Ezra: A Preacher-Theologian in the Old Testament

Ezra provides an exemplary model for the preacher-theologian as he demonstrates a leadership reproducing itself with God’s guidance and blessing. His family heritage set him up for a life of serving the Lord. He committed his life to studying the Word of God and to practicing it in life. As the Lord brought him into a position of high standing, he displayed great courage and wisdom because the hand of God was upon him. These God-given qualities carried him through the journey with the Israelites back to their homeland to build the temple and restore the worship of Yahweh. Ezra’s example is one to follow for every pastor and leader in ministry today.

Brad Klassen

Paul as Pastor-Teacher:

Essential Qualities from 1 Thessalonians 2:1–12

In 1 Thessalonians 2:1–12, Paul delivers six essential qualities that the pastor- teacher is to live out and fulfill in leading the church. The pastor-teacher must communicate God’s Word regardless of the cost, for the approval of God alone, without ulterior motives, out of sacrificial love, without a demand for compensation, and for the eternal welfare of his listeners. Indeed, the apostle Paul himself serves as an example of this portrait of the pastor-teacher, since he describes how he carried out his ministry by fulfilling these six qualities.

H. B. Charles, Jr.

Jesus: The Ultimate Preacher

The Lord Jesus Christ, the only Son of the living God, was a preacher. He was the Preacher. While Jesus truly and perfectly cared for the sick, the lame, and the blind, the primary focus of Jesus during His life was to preach. When people sought Him to see and experience physical healing, Jesus said in Mark 1:38: ‘Let us go elsewhere, to the towns nearby, so that I may preach there also; for that is what I came out for.’ The message He preached was clear and exclusive: ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but through Me’ (John 14:6). In this, Jesus stands as the example par excellence of the ultimate Preacher to every man called to the ministry of the Word of God.

No comments: